Ernest Willard Jones, Jr.
On Saturday, June 4, 2022, on a warm spring afternoon, Ernest (Sonny) Willard Jones, Jr. went to be with the Lord. Affectionately known by most as “Sonny”, he was born March 27, 1941 in Roanoke County, VA to the late Willard Ernest Jones, Sr. and Gladys M. Taylor Jones. In addition to his parents, Sonny was preceded in death by his wife, Annie M. Simmons Jones; son, Michael W. Jones; grandson, Ronnie A. Robinson, Jr.; sister, Velma M. Jones Young and niece, Kim M. Young Gordon.
Sonny was raised in the Slate Hill community of Roanoke County, attended G.W. Carver in Salem, VA., and later went on to work in a variety of positions that used his many self-taught skills. At a young age, Sonny began working at Norfolk & Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern), where he joined his father, uncles and many cousins as a railroad man and would later retire after 37 years. Not a man to sit still for long, during his retirement Sonny worked part-time with Roanoke County for many years.
On February 2, 1963, Sonny married Annie Simmons and raised four children during their union of 41 years. Sonny loved and enjoyed time with his family, and his first cousins were like brothers and sisters. This closeness continued throughout the years, and he always looked forward to the Cousins Monthly Breakfast at IHOP or Golden Corral. Sonny was a man who worked with his hands, from cooking, carpentry, and metal work to working on cars, which he did with his son Michael in their garage. He studied and obtained his locksmith certification. He was an avid bowler and belong to Roanoke Bowling Associate in which he received several achievement awards. In addition, he belonged to United States Bowling Congress where he received several 11 IN A ROW award and several rings for top score. On any given day in his later years, Sonny could be found visiting with his children, attending car shows with his best bud Leo, or in his recliner, watching Westerns or a martial arts movie.
Left to cherish the memory of Ernest Willard Jones, Jr. are his children, Richard Simmons, Ernest W. Jones III (Greensboro, NC), Christina J. (Ronnie) Robinson of the home; grandchildren, William L. Jones (Franklin, TN), Kishauna Jones-Pitcock (Phoenix, AZ), Ernest (Destiny) W. Jones IV (Charlotte, NC), Michael W. Jones Jr. (Rocky Mt, VA), Kiyami Simmons, Makayla Simmons, Richard Simmons Jr, Emanuel Simmons; twelve (12) great-grandchildren; sisters, Alda J. (Michael) Landers (Westchester County, NY), Dr. Michelle Jones; nephews, Michael Landers II (Christiansburg, VA), Bryan Young (Richmond, VA); aunt, Christine Jones; daughter-in-law Christi Jones (Rocky Mt., VA); brother-in-love, Rev. Peter Young (Richmond, VA); special cousins Leo Taylor, Donald Terry, Ronald Terry, Larry Terry, Crayton Craig, Jr. and a host of cousins, relatives and friends.